Nadhim Zahawi has told the House of Commons that “we must do more” when it comes to keeping children safe in the aftermath of the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case.
The Education Secretary confirmed a review and targeted inspection will take place as part of efforts to examine the case and identify where improvements need to be made.
He said inspectors had met on Monday and work will begin next week.
It follows after Arthur had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.
Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin was jailed for at least 29 years over his murder, while his dad Thomas Hughes was handed 21 years for his manslaughter.
‘The public deserve to know why’
Making a statement to the House of Commons the Education Secretary said: “The public deserve to know why in this rare case things went so horrifyingly wrong and what more can be done to prevent abuse such as this from happening in the future.
He told MPs: “Since the horrendous deaths of Peter Connelly, Daniel Pelka and, sadly, others, the Government has established stronger multi-agency working – putting a shared and equal duty on police, councils and health in local areas to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, alongside a role for schools.
“I am sure members across the House will recognise that improvements have been made from previous reviews, but the question now is whether that is enough.”
Mr Zahawi, on the targeted area inspection jointly by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and HM Inspectorate of Probation, said: “This will mean we can truly look at where improvements are needed by all the agencies tasked with protecting children in the Solihull area, so that we can be assured that we are doing everything in our power to protect other children and prevent such evil crimes.”
‘whole nation is distraught’
Mr Zahawi aid the “whole nation is distraught” at the “tragic and horrific” death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, telling the Commons: “We across this House and across this country find it impossible to imagine how any adult could commit such evil acts against a child.”
He added: “I know that colleagues and people outside of this place are seriously troubled that Arthur was subjected to a campaign of appalling cruelty and murdered after concerns had been raised with local services.”
Mr Zahawi went on: “I am as determined as everybody in this House to get to the truth and expose what went wrong, and take any action necessary to protect children.”
He added: “No Government anywhere in the world can legislate for evil, but we will take action wherever we can to stop it from happening again because we must do more.”
He made a plea to the public to report any child abuse they saw or suspected.
“We must make sure those who would do wicked acts to children face justice. We must do absolutely everything in our power to protect vulnerable young children from harrowing, evil abuse.”
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